READING — Concord-Carlisle boys’ soccer coach Ray Pavlik told his team at halftime that Reading, which controlled possession and won 50-50 balls during the opening frame, simply wanted it more.
In the second half, the Patriots responded and became the aggressor, evidenced in the 61st minute when senior Luca Baum won a throw inside the box and delivered the go-ahead strike.
The second-half effort, plus stoppage time goals by Liam Harrington and Levi Pierce, helped ninth-seeded Concord-Carlisle blank eighth-seeded Reading, 3-0, in a Division 2 North first-round matchup Tuesday night.
The Patriots (9-3-5) advance to play either top-seeded North Andover or Billerica on Saturday.
“I told them, you guys want to think you’re the more technical team but if you don’t have the ball, they’re running you off the pitch right now,” Pavlik said. “They played with more urgency and passion but we did a better job in the second half.”
After Reading recorded eight corners and five shots in the first half, Concord -Carlisle gained momentum in the opening stages of the second half, controlling possession and creating more opportunities.
That’s when Baum, an exchange student from Germany, battled defenders to control the ball and sent a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net. Playing in his first postseason game, Baum celebrated his winning goal with a handstand and a kick flip.
“I thought about hitting it really hard but then I thought about a classic finish,” Baum said. “I felt really good. Emotions took over after that and everything else was history. I’ve never done that [handstand] before but I probably wouldn’t have done it normally, but it was pretty cool.”
In the final minutes, with Reading (9-5-3) pressing, Harrington sent a harmless shot from outside the box, which trickled between the hands of the keeper and into the net. Pierce added a breakaway goal to seal the win.
The Concord-Carlisle back line played exceptional in front of freshman keeper Ben Brown, who made his first start in place of the injured Alex Hunt.
“We don’t have a lot of tournament experience,” Pavlik said. “It’s nerve-wracking. It’s tough for kids, so hopefully some of the jitters are out.”
Matt Doherty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.